Gov. Dave Heineman stands by his administration’s refusal to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants granted the right to seek work permits by the Obama Administration.
The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to file a lawsuit against the state.
“The liberal ACLU is welcome to sue the state of Nebraska anytime they want,” Heineman tells reporters during a conference call. “The fact of the matter is illegals should not be receiving state driver’s licenses in this state. The law is very clear.”
Nebraska, Arizona and Michigan are the only states that deny a driver’s license to work-eligible immigrants. The ACLU has already filed a lawsuit against Arizona.
President Obama signed a memo earlier this year that defers immigration action be taken against illegal immigrants brought into the country at an early age. The act allows young illegal immigrants to temporarily remain in the country without threat of deportation. It’s renewable every two years.
The ACLU argues that denying the youth the right to drive is unlawful and counter-productive to helping the state economy grow.
Heineman says state law is very clear.
“But if you’re here illegally, you shouldn’t be receiving that kind of benefit,” according to Heineman. “Nebraska welcomes legal immigration. We do not support illegal immigration. So, (if) the ACLU wants to sue us, that’s their prerogative.”
Heineman says he’s confident state policy is constitutional.
“It’s pretty hard for me to second guess the judiciary, so I won’t try to do that. And, secondly, if they sue us, it will be in the hands of the Attorney General, but I don’t have any doubt we will defend this one vigorously and I’m confident we can succeed,” Heineman says.
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman reacts to ACLU threat to sue state [:40]